RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — What are your rights when it comes to dealing with the police?
8News anchor Darielle Snipes looked into what happens when an officer comes to your door or stops you on the street.
“If a police officer shows up and knocks on your door and we are investigating a crime, they can only come in with your consent or a valid search warrant,” Chesterfield Police Captain Shand said. “So if you don’t want them in your house and they don’t have a search warrant, you don’t have to give them consent to come in your house.”
Cpt. Shand says if the officer does have an arrest or search warrant, police can come in without your consent or if they see a felony crime happening.
“That is rare,” Shand added. “But most of the time they have to have some type of paperwork or consent to enter your house.”
Probably one of the most well-known incidents was Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s encounter with an officer at his home ended with his arrest in 2009.
The officer asked to see his ID while investigating a possible break-in at Gates’ home. Gates yelled at the officer and was then arrested.
The charges of disorderly conduct were later dropped, and the incident ended with the officer and Gates having a beer with the president.
But Cpt. Shand says you don’t need to show your ID if you are in your house, although it is helpful.
“They don’t know who you are. They don’t know you live there, so the advice would be to comply and say I live here, can I see some id and thanks for coming out and checking the residence and making sure,” Capt. Shand said. “That is why they are there to check and protect your property.”
And if you are just walking on the street and an officer stops you, Cpt. Shand says you don’t have to answer their question or show I.D.
If you have an encounter with an officer and you feel your rights have been violated, the time to dispute them isn’t on the street. Rather, after it has occurred, call a supervisor or the internal affairs department and file a complaint.
The reason for this is because you don’t want the situation to get out of hand and then you are arrested or it escalates into violence.